The first international standard that outlines a set of specific requirements focusing on cyber security best practices for suppliers of industrial automation and control systems is out and ready to go.
“This is an important step in the ongoing process to improve the reliability of our critical manufacturing and production systems and provides end-users the ability to now communicate their expectations about the security of process automation, control and safety systems,” said Alex van Delft, Competence Manager Process Control at DSM and Chairman of the WIB, the International Instrument Users Association, an organization that provides process instrumentation evaluation and assessment services for its over 25 end-user members.
With industrial networks increasingly connected to IT, and the frequency and sophistication of malware growing exponentially, industrial stakeholders need to protect their critical systems. Whether it is a targeted attack like Stuxnet, or an accidental disruption, a single cyber incident can cost millions of dollars in lost revenue, jeopardize employee and public safety and potentially disrupt national critical infrastructure.
“Our increasingly connected production systems are facing a growing threat on a daily basis and we must do all we can to ensure a safe and secure operational environment,” said Peter Kwaspen, Strategy & Development Manager, EMEA Control & Automation Systems at Shell Projects & Technology. “This document provides the common language we need to communicate our expectations around security to our suppliers and the framework to work together to help improve the overall security posture for our critical systems.”
Led by Shell, BP, Saudi Aramco, Dow, DuPont, Laborelec, Wintershall among other end-users, as well as suppliers like Invensys and Sensus and multiple government agencies, the group spent two years developing and piloting the program revising the requirements which culminated into the version 2 release.
“The security requirements outlined in the document went through a year of comments/revisions from over 50 global stakeholders and were subjected to a thorough pilot certification program over the last 8 months,” said Jos Menting, cyber security advisor GDF Suez Group. “We’ve now come to a truly functional cyber security standard based on the needs of end-users and it is now up to us, the end-users, to take advantage of this effort and insist that our vendors are certified.”
Members of the WIB Plant Security Working group have already started implementing the requirements into their procurement processes.
“Shell has mandated conformance to the WIB standard for all vendors supplying systems to be deployed in Shell’s process control environment starting January 01, 2011,” said Ted Angevaare, PACO EMEA Control & Automation Systems Team Leader. “These requirements will become a standard part of the procurement language saving us a significant amount of time and effort.”
Industrial process control and automation system suppliers are also starting to integrate the requirements.
“Adopting the WIB’s security requirements ensures that Invensys has a set of measurable practices in place that enforce a safer and more secure critical infrastructure,” said Ernie Rakaczky, program manager for control systems cyber security at Invensys Operations Management. “Not only do the requirements provide current-state measures, they allow us to continue to improve and adapt to the ever-changing security landscape,”
The purpose of the WIB standard is fit the needs of the end-user – the system owner/operator and reflects the requirements for industries like oil and gas, electric power, smart grid, transportation, pharmaceutical, and chemical. The goal is to address cyber security best practices and allocate responsibility at the various stages of the industrial system lifecycle: Organizational practices, product development, testing and commissioning and maintenance and support.
“Security is not a one-time application, but rather a process in which every stakeholder must contribute in order to achieve any significant improvement in operational reliability,” said Auke Huistra, project manager at National Infrastructure against Cyber Crime (NICC). “The WIB requirements are designed with this principle at its core and we are encouraging critical infrastructure stakeholders in The Netherlands to integrate the requirements into their cyber security plans.”
The requirements also address a broad range of cyber security topics from high-level requirements for vendor’s internal security policies, procedures, and governance, to specific requirements concerning access/authentication, data protection, default password protection and patch management. When a vendor’s solution complies with this set of requirements, the WIB then considers the solution to be Process Control Domain Security Compatible.
The requirements further break down into 3 levels to reflect various starting points of global suppliers and provide a scalable framework to plan improvements over time. In the program, there are Gold, Silver and Bronze levels, each consisting of a set requirements designed to verify that applicable policies and practices are in place, enabled and practiced by the vendor.
From the beginning, industry leaders recognized with the global nature of industrial cyber security, any effort to standardize cyber security best practices required stakeholder cooperation from different industry sectors and in different regions of the world. The WIB association stepped up to the plate to help fashion together the standard. Additionally, the initiative needed to reflect and incorporate the important cyber security activities happening internationally so government agencies, industry working groups and standards bodies were consulted to ensure harmony. For example, major industry standards efforts such as ISA99, NIST 800-53, NISTIR 7628 and various international government regulations such as NERC/CIP underwent review and incorporated where appropriate or expanded to ensure testability. The WIB executive committee started the process of introducing the WIB PCD requirements into the CEN/CENELEC and IEC international standards framework.
To download a free copy of the standard document, go to or scroll below and fill out the form for the free document. For more information on the WIB Process Control Domain Security Requirements standard go to


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